Hydrology and Water Resources  Research Group



Hydrologic Effects of Climate and Land Cover Change

This work focuses on the estimation of climatic and hydrologic uncertainties to contribute to scientific knowledge as well as to inform decision making in water policy. Stakeholders and academic experts are involved in participatory modeling as an interactive process with benefits for both researchers and practitioners. Specific activities involve the setup of a distributed hydrological model (tRIBS) and selection of the appropriate spatial resolution for reducing the computational load, hydrologic calibration and validation using historical information, downscaling of IPCC future climate scenarios and consideration of future vegetation thinning and change. Coupling of climate and landcover scenarios in the hydrologic projections will allow creating a platform for decision making, a connection with reservoir models. Such a platform will integrate the different scenarios (precipitation, temperature, vegetation cover, etc) with corresponding basin outputs (discharges, evapotranspiration, groundwater, soil moisture, snow and runoff) in a friendly and free source-code GUI for stakeholder engagement and use.

Remotely Sensed Precipitation and Flood Forecasting

Both Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE's) from Radar and Satellite observations and Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF's) from the NCAR AutoNowCaster (ANC), and NCAR Weather Research Forecast - Real-Time Four-Dimensional Data Assimilation and forecast (WRF-RTFDDA) model were produced, compared and corrected to test the scientific questions of scale and lead time dependence of the flood forecasting skill in multiple-size headwater catchments. The TIN-based Real-time Integrated Basin Simulator (tRIBS) (Ivanov et al., 2004, Vivoni et al., 2006)-hydrologic model was used as the ground verification of the meteorologic forecasting thorugh the simulation of basin streamflows. The model captures spatial heterogeneities in catchment properties, resolve spatial-temporal variability in hydrometeorological forcing, and simulate fine-scale hydrologic fields and streamflow hydrographs at multiple, nested locations. We chose a mountain region to test our hypothesis: The Colorado Front Range. Scaling properties of the rainfall in this mountain region were also studied. Topographic patterns and diurnal cycles will be used to further improve the quality of QPEs over the topographically complex basins. This project was funded by NOAA with the colaboration of NCAR and Arizona State University.

Modeling Tools

Hydro-Graphic:Watershed processing, channel network extraction and TIN construction software

Computional tool for DEM processing, watershed-channel network extraction and TIN generation from Digital Elevation Models (DEM). The only required input is an ASCII matrix with elevation values at any spatial resolution and a threshold value for the minimum cumulative areas of chanels of order one. The outputs are a corrected DEM, a channel newtork, a watershed divide and a set of Triangular Irregular Networks (TIN) for different sampling point density values (from 0 to 1) using a modified Very Important Point (VIP) methdology. This technique allows the preservation of topographic characteristics such as elevation, slope and aspects and handles millions of domain points. This script runs in R-free programming language.

Original DEM Cumulative Areas Map
3-D View of Triangular Irregular Network Extracted Channel Network and Watershed Divide

Visual tRIBS V1.4

Useful tool to visualize and export multiple SERIAL and PARALLEL outputs of tRIBS (triangulated Real-time Integrated Basin Simulator) including time series and spatial outputs of multiple variables, friendly programmed in R. Clik here to donwload "runthis.bat" LINUX executable. After downloading it only double click and select run in terminal. Make sure you change this file's permission to allow executing. For Visual tRIBS to run R (free programing language) has to be installed in your O.S. The next packages need to be installed in R, using install.packages("package"): playwith, sp, akima, maptools, fields, plotrix.